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A supervolcano is a volcano that can make a volcanic eruption where the things being thrown out of the volcano have a volume bigger than 1,000 km3 (240 cu mi). This is thousands of times bigger than most volcanic eruptions which happened a long time. Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot, but can not break through the crust. More and more pressure builds up in a large and growing magma pool until the crust can no longer take the pressure.
Although there are not many Quaternary supervolcanoes, supervolcanic eruptions usually cover very big areas with lava and volcanic ash. They can also cause a long-lasting change to weather (such as the triggering of a small ice age), enough to possibly make species extinct.
Volcanologists and geologists do not say "supervolcanoes" in their scientific work. This is because the word can mean many different geothermal conditions. Since 2003, however, the term has been used by professionals when showing things to the public. The term megacaldera is sometimes used for calderas which are quite similar to supervolcanoes, such as the Blake River Megacaldera Complex in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Ontario and Quebec, Canada.
- Mason, Ben G.; Pyle, David M.; Oppenheimer, Clive (2004). "The size and frequency of the largest explosive eruptions on Earth". Bulletin of Volcanology 66 (8): 735–748.
- Timmreck, C.; Graf, H.-F. (2006). "The initial dispersal and radiative forcing of a Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude super volcano: a model study". Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 6: 35–49.
- Information on the original BBC program
- Yellowstone Supervolcano and Map of Supervolcanoes Around The World
- USGS Fact Sheet – Steam Explosions, Earthquakes, and Volcanic Eruptions – What's in Yellowstone's Future?
- Discovery Channel's site on "Supervolcano"
- Scientific American's The Secrets of Supervolcanoes
- Supervolcano on IMDb